Fanatec Porsche 911 Carrera w/ Rennsport Wheel Stand Welcome to my review of the Fanatec Porsche 911 Carrera Wheel, and the Rennsport Wheelstand. To start off let me explain why I am choosing to review these two items together. In the coming weeks there will be a contest. The winner of which will receive the Fanatec Porsche 911 Carrera Wheel and the Rennsport Wheelstand. Therefore, I thought it fitting to review them together. Furthermore, many people who purchase the PWC will probably opt for the Wheelstand. I don’t imagine most who are in the market for such a wheel will have a home built (or an expensive pre-made) cockpit to attach it to. That being said, I have owned a Fanatec wheel for some time now (Porsche 911 Turbo S model, also known as the PWTS), and have found no flaws with it (other than a momentary driver issue, that was quickly solved). My PWTS has always been connected to a home built cockpit: https://www.gtplanet.net/forum/showthread.php?t=116737 So, as you might imagine I was dubious. I wasn't sure what to expect out of the PWC (Carrera Wheel), or the Rennsport Wheel Stand. Having used a cockpit for so long, I wasn't expecting the wheelstand to be something that could be comparable. Similarly, Having used a PWTS for so long, I wasn't expecting the PWC to be comparable. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with both. First off, lets talk about the features of the wheel... Aesthetics The wheel is a dark blue with black accents. It looks very similar to the GT3RS wheel, although without the Alcantera rim, and sporting different colors. That being said, the GT3RS wheel I have always found to be the most comfortable (wheel grip), so having the PWC with the same layout/wheel grip is certainly a positive design choice. All in all, it's a great looking wheel. Some may even prefer the look to the Turbo S. As for the "feel", the wheel is rubber, and initially I didn't think I would like it (even though most all other budget wheels are rubber gripped as well), but after a short time, I realised the rubber makes for a very secure/sticky grip on the wheel. Honestly, I would say it provides a bit more grip, than the Turbo S. Also, the PWC is gear driven, as opposed to the GT3RS/PWTS which use belt drives. This changes how the FFB feels through the wheel to some degree. The overall engagement of the FFB/Rumble Effects is not quite as smooth as the PWTS/GT3RS, but what it loses in smoothness/fluidity it makes up for in responsiveness. I was amazed at how "twitchy" the wheel could be (similar to a G25/G27), which is fantastic for fast open wheel racing (Indy, F1, F3000, LM, etc...). Very fast response to inputs. As compared to the Logitech DFGT (closest competitor) the feel/aesthetics are in a league of their own. I loved my DFGT, but the PWC looks better (in my opinion), feels better, and has a level of adjustablity no other budget wheel can touch. Speaking of adjustablity... Features The PWC comes with an H-Gate shifter and Standard Pedals (with clutch/brake/throttle). This is the only budget wheel on the market that offers a 6-speed shifter and clutch. The closest competitor that does is the Logitech G25/G27, but at or near $300 it's nowhere near as affordable. I won't go into too much detail on every feature t his wheel has to offer. Posted above is a detailed list of features for both the PWC and the Wheel Stand. However, one important feature that needs to be mentioned is the upgradeable firmware. Just like the Turbo S (PWTS), the Carrera Wheel can be upgraded with any new firmware updates, keeping the PWC up to date with any new features. No other wheel, budget or otherwise, offers this kind of support. That being said, I will give a brief overview focusing on features I found to be the most applicable to myself, and other users of this forum. The following is adjustable on the wheel: o Save up to 5 wheel set-ups (setup for different games) o Adjust ForceFeedback (0 - 100) o Adjust steering angle independent from the game (from 90 - 900 in increments of 10) o Adjust damper strength (Driftmode) (5 settings) o Adjust deadzone (0 - 10, Perfect for GT5 and/or any game with an inherant deadzone) o Adjust linearity (0 - 100, precision around center point) Out of all of these features (none of which can be adjusted on the DFGT/G25/G27), the most notable are the "Deadzone" and "Linearity" (in respect to Gran Turismo fans especially, but not limited to). For those who do not own a Fanatec wheel, let me explain why this is such a needed feature. Games like Enthusia, GT4, and GT5 all have a built in deadzone, as all wheels of the time (Logitech) had mechanical deadzones. Therefore, the games needed to be tailored for these wheels. The Fanatec range of wheels are very precise and thus do not have any deadzone inherently. Due to this, the Fanatec range noticed oscillation problems when the wheel was at or around the center point. The added deadzone adjustment allows the wheel user to get around this problem. Adjusting the deazone along side the linearity seems to effectively smooth out the noticeability of the "dead zone" area. Of course these are only 2 of the features available to adjust. The adjustable steering ratio (90 - 900!) is one of if not my favorite features. You can effectively set the ratio to match the vehicle you are driving in the game. This is especially exciting for open wheel fans (F1 anyone?) where 900 degrees is not an accurate simulation. However, it goes beyond that. You can set it up to various degrees depending on the person in question. You can set it up for simulation or arcade games. You can do a bit of research and effectively match any vehicles ratio. All of the features are useful, and would be quite missed if I was to go back to a wheel that didn't have such functionality. Compatibility Like most wheels currently on the market, the PWC is compatible with the PS3 and PC. However, most PS2 games can be played with a backwards compatible PS3 system. Also, as said before with the added adjustability the deadzone/linearity allows, more PS2/PS3 games are supported than ever before. With previous Fanatec wheels (Turbo, Turbo S, GT3RS) if one wanted to play GT5 you had to set the system date back (some technical bug). However, this is no longer the case. All newer Fanatec wheels (PWTSUE, GT3RSV2, and the PWC) are plug and play. No tinkering needs to be done in order to play games like Prologue. In conclusion, I can't think of any reason someone would be in the market for a budget wheel and not end up with a PWCPorsche Carrera Wheel. A ton of features, a ton of adjustments, and precise force feedback. If you want a wheel, but don't want to shell out the $300 for a G25/G27 (with less features to boot), this needs to be at the top of your list. After trying the PWC, all my friends are bugging me for a release date. Logitech has something to be worried about, after a long time of being the industry leader for simulation wheels. Competition breeds innovation, so we'll see how both Fanatec and Logitech evolve due to this. Right now, my money is on Fanatec. Below we turn our focus to the Rennsport Wheelstand Fanatec Rennsport Wheel Stand: Welcome to part 2 of the review. This time we're focusing on the Rennsport Wheelstand. Although, in this review we will be focusing on the Wheel Stand as it pertains to the PWC. When I received it, it was nicely packaged and well protected. The instructions were hardly needed, as everything seemed pretty self explanatory. So, everything went together in a manner of minutes (about 10 minutes to be exact). As before, let’s start with aesthetics... Aesthetics The unit is all a matte black with silver painted base (pedal base). It is much more substantial than I was expecting. Thick metal tubing provides for a beefy solid feel (a bit more solid than the Wheel Stand Pro, in my opinion). There are rubber stoppers on the end of the pedal base, to stop the runners from slipping/scuffing. Also, there is a mount on the front of the stand that holds the allen key (for adjusting stand height/swivel). A small touch, but very useful, and looks good with the rest of the design. In my opinion the RSWS is the most aesthetically pleasing "wheel stand" currently on the market. Yet, it's not the looks that impress the most... Features Above you can see that the RSWS has quite a bit of adjustments for a wheel stand. There are a few of these features I think are particularly useful. The adjustable wheel tray angle allows you to set the wheel exactly where you need it. Whether you like the wheel straight up and down, or in bus driver position, you have the choice. Once the tray is tightened down it's rock solid as well, so no worries about the angle slipping. The one difference between this and the Wheelstand Pro is the angle of the upright support. With the Rennsport Stand the upright is straight up and down (i.e vertical) and this cannot be adjusted. Whereas the Wheelstand Pro has a quick release to adjust this angle. This would seem like a disadvantage, but there is a good reason the RSWS does not allow this adjustment Due to the quick release design of the Wheelstand Pro, the upright can shake and move with vigorous use. The RSWS upright support is rock solid, and does not move at all. Fortunately, one can just move the pedals, instead of moving the upright. I found this method to be easier and more user friendly. Your mileage may vary. The wheel can be folded and stored away in about 10 seconds. I found this to be more like 15 seconds, but either way it's incredibly useful for people who need to save space/time. It's easy to take it out (wheel/pedals still attached) plug it in, race for an hour, then easily fold it away and put it in a closet when not in use. I can't tell you how many times I have forfeited setting up the cockpit, because the wheelstand allowed me to jump right in, and jump right out when time was of the essence. Compatibility The Wheel Stand is compatible with most all wheels out on the market. All Fanatec wheels (of course), DF Pro, DFGT, G25/G27, and even the Microsoft Wireless Wheel. This means, any wheel you have, can be connected up. The Carrera Wheel was bolted to the stand using the included hardware in less than 5 minutes as the RSWS is pre-drilled for it. The standard pedals fit onto the frame like a glove (CSP's even better with the pedal stopper), and they don't move. Even when using the strong brakes of the Fanatec wheels. The only thing you will need to buy yourself, are the zip-ties for securing the wires to the stand, thus keeping them out of the way of any limbs. In closing, if you have a couch/futon/lazy boy, or what have you, and you're tired of clamping your wheel to the coffee table, tv-dinner tray, or unused exercise equipment, this will be just what the doctor ordered. Easily fold-able and store-able, sturdy, attractive, and most importantly functional. It does exactly what it was designed for and in style. I wasn't so sure about it when it arrived, but after logging about 15 hours on it I'm sold. When I have to give this stand away (stay tuned...) I am going to miss it, and honestly I'll probably pick one up for myself, especially for quick 2 player battles where a friend can use the stand, and myself in the cockpit. Another great product from the boys at Fanatec.